The fellas arrive in Nashville tomorrow to begin work on the next Al Stone record, and I'm in a nostalgic mood.
The first Allen Stone song I learned was Your Eyes. Oh, oh, oh, your eeeeyyyyyyyes. If you’d told me I’d be playing that song for drunk Japanese salarymen at Blue Note Tokyo a year or so down the road, I’d have legitimately laughed in your face.
I’m often asked how I met Allen, and the honest answer’s I didn’t give the whole thing much thought. I mean, how could I? I was going through an unfortunate kinda-sorta Justin Beiber-y bowl cut phase, and Allen was rocking oversized sweaters. The keyboard player at the time routinely produced fresh biscuits from his jacket pocket and rambled about Harry Potter conspiracy theories (“that’s why it rains so much in Seattle, Harry Potter’s too popular. It’s WITCHCRAFT!”).
There was a first meeting, obviously, and it occurred over a plate of nachos at the Matador in Ballard.
We talked shop. “Shop,” such as it was, consisted of Allen acknowledging that, yes, there were shows in California, and he'd recently jury rigged a Play Station setup in his van. Tiger Woods Golf, I was assured, would be an option. I was in, right? Allen and I knew each other a little bit from the scene and the Unaware video was picking up steam. It was exciting, watching the view count jump by a few thousand everyday, but I was skeptical we’d have an audience outside Seattle.
In those first weeks, I’d discover that Heavenly Donuts in Redding, CA is the biggest misnomer in America. And, yes, it was in fact human urine on the sheets at the Shasta Lodge (we’d stay there multiple times). We were a rag tag bunch of miscreants, and I’d purchased a bright blue collared shirt for the occasion.
If professional touring can be likened to immaculately crafted pop mega-hits, we were on some free-jazz shit.
And now, well, here I am. Embracing a new chapter in Nashville and about to be three records deep with the Al project. The music biz sure is an odd and circuitous road. But I'm still standing, still here, and of that I'm most proud.